After turning down the opportunity to do action figures based on the Star Wars film, Mattel had to watch as Kenner instead took on the license and make millions with Star Wars action figures, which were smaller, more posable figures. Then Hasbro announced plans to follow suit a revamp of its famous G.I. Joe line of figures, choosing to also go the smaller, fully posable route. Mattel wanted to get in on this action figure bonanza, but couldn't seem to come up with a good line of figures to compete with those other lines. Eventually, they found their breakout success with the Masters of Universe line of toys, which were based upon the concept of a sort of futuristic barbarian named He-Man and his enemy, Skeletor, and their battle for a "Power Sword."
RELATED: He-Man: The 15 Worst Toys Ever
The initial line was a big success, so Mattel started putting out more and more new characters. The initial wave of new characters was pretty straightforward, but the more they expanded the line, the more they had to stretch to come up with new characters to fit in with the basic Masters of the Universe storyline. By then, of course, it had expanded, continuity-wise, through the launch of a hit Filmation animated series in 1983. Some of the new figures were extremely out there, but these are the most inappropriate Masters of the Universe action figures.
15 MOSS MAN
Masters of the Universe was really ahead of the game when it came to having figures that were made out of really strange material. The most famous figure in this regard was clearly Moss Man, who is somehow a good guy despite looking like he wants to haunt your dreams. He was made out of a material that was like the fuzzy side of velcro and he literally smelled like Pine Tar.
The commercials for him were also hilarious, since he was ostensibly a spy (as he could camouflage himself due to being made out of moss), but he only works as a spy in the commercial because he is literally covered in shadows! The figure doesn't make any sense. However, to Mattel's credit, the figures still smell basically the same over 30 years later. That, at least, is something!
One of the most amusing things about the early editions of the He-Man action figures is that they were almost all just re-used parts from other He-Man action figures. Therefore, there was very much a case of Island of Doctor Moreau going on about these figures, as body parts were mixed and matched to the point of near absurdity.
That's how you end up with someone like Clawful, who doesn't even get the dignity of having a cool face that is made up like a crab. Oh no, no sir, he instead just gets a goofy crab-looking face painted on to an otherwise nondescript head! Most of his body parts were He-Man and Buzz Off parts. At least his giant claw was unique to his design!
13 SNOUT SPOUT
Clearly, by the fifth wave of He-Man toys, the designers were really stretching the realms of what would be seen as an appropriate idea for a He-Man figure, but even with that in mind, the introduction of Snout Spout stands out as a particularly strange idea. The guy is a human, except for having a robotic elephant head. Now, this is not just an elephant head, but a robotic elephant head, because apparently that's a thing.
Snout Spout didn't even get a chance to show up in the cartoon series, although he did pop up in She-Ra under his prototype figure name, Hose Nose. It really is a difficult question as to which name sounds sillier. The toy came with an ax that he didn't use on the cartoon, because the figure needs the ax to help prop the nose up. That's what you normally do with axes, of course.
In the world of popular culture, the name of the game is often imitation. You see another company have success with an idea and you come up with a way to copy that idea to work with your products. This idea is quite familiar to comic book fans, who saw one successful superhero (Superman) suddenly launch a whole industry of superhero comic books. In the world of toys, the gamechanging toy line was Hasbro's Transformers action figures, where robots would transform into vehicles... and sometimes dinosaurs.
Masters of the Universe tried to get in on this action, but their attempt was hilariously lame, as Stonedar (and his buddy Roxxon) were heroes who transformed into... rocks. With these guys, every kid in America was like Charlie Brown on Halloween, bemoaning that "I got a rock." Also, part of his gimmick is that he would infiltrate enemy bases as a meteor, running into battle after his transformation. So a guy named Stonedar would literally blaze up and smoke. Well played, Mattel.
11 TWO BAD
Very few action figures are actually named after the feeling that a kid has when he or she received said figure as a present, but Two Bad is one of them. The figure continues the grotesque design of some of the figures that we have seen, only taking them to a new extreme with this torturous looking shared body set-up of these two villains.
The concept is that they were "evil strategists" who cannot agree on a strategy, sort of like rival panelists on an evil political talk show. One of the most hilarious aspects of their figure design is the fact that the arms swing out in such a way that they pretty easily just punch themselves in the face. It's a bizarre facet to an already bizarre toy.
An amusing aspect of the Masters of the Universe concept is that most of them were given a certain trait or field that they were dubbed the "master" of, no matter how obscure such a trait would be. For instance, Extendar is the "master of extension." Yes, master of extension. Really, the conceit of Extendar just doesn't make any sense. He is a knight-looking guy who becomes super strong when he... ahem... extends his body parts.
That's it. He just gets taller and that somehow makes him super strong. It doesn't make any sense. Meckaneck at least sort of made sense. He could stretch his head so he could see things other people couldn't. Extendar, though, gains strength through his extension. There's a huge disconnect of logic there.
Mosquitor has the honor (if you would call it that) of being one of the very last of the original Masters of Universe toys to ever be produced, as he came in the sixth and final wave of toys. Due to his late release, he never got to appear in the cartoon series. Sealed Mosquitor figures are some of the most valuable He-Man toys around.
Meanwhile, though, the character is super bizarre. He literally fills up his stomach with blood! In the mini-comic that comes with his figure, he sticks his thing into the Sorceress, draining her of her energy. It's hard to imagine any parent being cool with their kids playing with a figure this twisted, although the figure "cleverly" tries to avoid the whole "blood-sucking" aspect of the character design by saying that he drains "energy," not blood.
Leech is an utterly bizarre looking figure. Think about his design -- he literally is just walking around with his mouth wide open. The way that his head is designed, it looks like he doesn't even have room for a brain! He's just a walking mouth. That's super disturbing.
Then you get to the fact that he has suction cups all over his body and it makes you wonder what exactly is the existence of this character? He can't make a fist, he can't hold anything -- and yet he has a crossbow for some reason! Essentially, when it came to the design of Leech, the designers just liked the fact that you could affix him to objects and didn't give any more thought into whether he made sense as a character otherwise.
7 TUNG LASHOR
First off, why in the world is this guy's name Tung Lashor? Why does he have a made-up spelling of Tongue? That's not his real name (his real name is Kasssher, which is odd enough on its own), so where did it come from? There just had to be some designer who had the thought, "Tongue Lashor sounds dumb, let's make it Tung Lashor! That sounds awesome!"? It makes no sense.
Once you're past the absurdity of the name, you get into the creepiness of a guy whose whole super power is that he hits you with his long tongue. That sounds more like sexual harassment than an actual useful super power. The 2002 He-Man cartoon made a gag out of Tung Lashor getting his tongue chopped off all the time.
Due to being released towards the end of the series, Stinkor and Moss Man never quite got to become the arch-enemies that they were intended to become, but Stinkor still lives on as being one of the weirdest He-Man figures ever. He is the "Evil Master of Odors," which sounds like the worst specialty in graduate school.
Like Moss Man, what is impressive about Stinkor is the fact that, 30 years later, the original figures still maintain their odor. Now, while that is an impressive feat of engineering, it still means that you have a figure whose power is that it smells. That's ridiculous. Not only is it ridiculous, but due to their practice of re-using other toy designs for new ones, Stinkor is not even an original looking toy that smells.
As you have surely noticed so far, the Masters of Universe line had its fair share of some truly horrific character designs. Even with that in mind, Modulok was a bizarre one. The figure was made up of a series of interchangeable body parts that you could re-arrange into various configurations. Since he had two heads, you could even make two separate figures out of him. Naturally, for the little kids who collected Masters of the Universe in the 1980s, this meant two things.
The first is that the parts quickly went missing and you soon couldn't really do anything of note with the figure since you were missing his torso. The second is that kids would manipulate the figures so that his tail would be in the front of the figure, looking like a rather phallic addition to the toy.
4 SCARE GLOW
In 2002, Lynne Truss had a best seller called Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, which explained how confusing sentences can get if you just omit a comma (so a description of what a panda eats soon turns into the description of how Michael kills Sollozzo in The Godfather). However, sometimes even without the comma issue, a sentence could read wildly differently depending on how you interpret it. For instance, Scare Glow is described as the "Evil Ghost of Skeletor."
Okay, so is he Skeletor as a ghost? Or is he a ghost that works for Skeletor? Either way, he looks like a glow-in-the-dark naked version of Skeletor and is therefore one of the most disturbing He-Man toys around. Who, by the way, has ghosts on their payroll?
3 RIO BLAST
There are certain looks that scream "1980s" to people and when you see them outside of the context of the decade, they look rather disturbing. When he debuted, the gunslinging Rio Blast looked normal enough. After all, this was the era of Magnum P.I. However, when you look at him now, Rio Blast seems like the type of character that you wouldn't feel comfortable with if you saw them driving a van near your kid's school.
The name, meanwhile, sounds like some sort of twisted candy flavor and even outside of his design, Rio Blast is still a guy who has guns pop out of his body, which is not a good look for anyone. The He-Man comic book tried to give him some personality by having him constantly eating hot peppers. That's how boring this guy is, "eats peppers" is all he has in the way of a personality.
2 BLAST ATTAK
Like Tung Lashor, Blast-Attak has an aggravating way of spelling his name. Would he really sound less cool if they had the "C" in his name? In any event, Blast-Attak, as part of the last wave of action figures, did not get to appear in the animated series at all (not even the She-Ra followup cartoon). This has led to some confusion as to which team of villains that he belonged on.
It is probably a good thing, though, that he never got to show up on the cartoon because his power is really inappropriate. He explodes and then puts himself together. Yes, he is literally the toy equivalent of a suicide bomber. Hey, kids, time for some fun -- how about a suicide bomber versus He-Man!
We really don't need to explain to you why He-Man's good friend, Fisto, is the most inappropriate Masters of the Universe figure of all-time, do we? The guy's name is Fisto. He has a giant fist and his name is Fisto. You really have to wonder what the conversations were when they came up with the concept behind naming the guy Fisto. Was there giggling involved?
In fact, it reminds us of the time that Dark Horse introduced a Star Wars Jedi with the last name of Baytes, in the hope of making someone at Lucasfilm laugh when they saw the name, but it somehow got approved and Jedi Master Baytes became a reality. We imagine that Fisto's origins were similar. "Oh man, wouldn't it be hilarious if they let us call this guy Fisto?" "Oh no, they approved it! It's too late to admit that it was a joke!"
Who was your favorite He-Man character? Let us know in the comments section!